Palatable: XXY

XXY (2007)
Directed by Lucía Puenzo
Written by Sergio Bizzio, Lucía Puenzo
Produced by Luis Puenzo, José María Morales, Carla Pelligra, Fernando Sirianni, Fabienne Vonier
Starring Inés Efron, Ricardo Darín, Martín Piroyansky, Valeria Bertuccelli, Germán Palacios, Carolina Pelleritti, Guillermo Angelelli, Ailín Salas, Luciano Nóbile
Had this movie been produced but six or seven years ulterior, at the advent of a transmania aggressively propagandized by mass media outlets in the western hemisphere, it might not have enjoyed global distribution, for Puenzo’s straight, sympathetic treatment of the gynandromorphic condition belies every delusional jeremiad loudly publicized via social media by pre-op lunatics and a minority of legitimately transsexual exhibitionists fomented by this wholly calculated craze. At their home on the Uruguayan seashore, the family of a froward, adolescent androgyne (Efron) is, for an invitation by her mother (Bertuccelli), visited by an imperious, accomplished cosmetic surgeon (Palacios) with his wife (Pelleritti) and sensitive son (Piroyansky), whose fleeting friendship with the huffy hermaphrodite enables an unusual exploration of their inchoate sexuality. Otherwise, this visitation broaches the ineludible question of whether she’ll submit to sexual assignment after abjuring antiandrogens for weeks, an option that her father (Darín), a marine biologist, opposes in concern for her welfare. As directorial forays come, this adaptation of Bizzio’s short story finds Argentine cinema’s most fortunate daughter living up to her father’s reputation by capably balancing subjective compassion with the indisputable medical and social consequences of a fascinating chromosomal anomaly. Dialogue’s nearly as minimal here as in her future pictures, and tyros Efron and Piroyansky were as histrionically consummate as old stagers Darín, Palacios, Pelleritti, Bertuccelli, et al., all subtly expressive in complete characterizations, especially during gazing and glancing caesurae. Her composition and continuity are as professional as Puenzo’s direction of her cast; alas, Natasha Braier’s cinematography, which includes sweeping vistas of the southern cone’s seacoast and offing, is uglified by the applications of green and blue filters. Satisfyingly, Bizzio’s conclusion affirms biological primacy and deliberated discretion over suspect medical trends. Maybe nature’s irregularities aren’t always errors.

Efron and Salas were effectively recast in Puenzo’s second feature, The Fish Child.

Palatable: 7th Floor

7th Floor (2013)
Directed by Patxi Amezcua
Written by Patxi Amezcua, Alejo Flah
Produced by Álvaro Augustin, Jordi Gasull, Axel Kuschevatzky, Andrés Longares, Matías Mosteirín, Edmon Roch, Hugo Sigman, Nico Matji, Blanca Formáriz, Julio Ariza, Jorge Tuca, Javier Ugarte, Pola Zito
Starring Ricardo Darín, Belén Rueda, Luis Ziembrowski, Osvaldo Santoro, Guillermo Arengo, Abel Dolz Doval, Charo Dolz Doval, Jorge D’Elía
Were Bayly more practical and unpoetic, he might’ve opined by adjunct that absence makes the heart grow fonder or fevered, certainly so when the children (Doval siblings) of a lawyer (Darín) due for a crucial hearing vanish on his apartment’s stairwell in descent from its 7th floor to lobby, spurring a solicitous search. Its craftily curving plot and solid performances demonstrate how readily suspicion and transgression are incited by parental instinct in this routine yet intriguing thriller, which is slickly shot, excessively but effectually scored, and just substantial to subserve an evening’s diversion.